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"My country, right or wrong"


Many of the "Politics & Society" threads get diverted because of differing opinions on the value of patriotism. Just now, the Syria thread has suffered just such a diversion. So IN needs a special thread to carry arguments for and against patriotism - as well as loyalty to religions and other communities of a tribal nature. Today's "Thought for the day" on the website contains this quote:
"...we have room for but one sole loyalty and that is a loyalty to the American people." -- Theodore Roosevelt - in a letter to the American Defense Society in Protected content

Self-proclaimed patriots often seem to take umbrage at criticism of their countries' governments by foreigners, and to equate such criticism with criticism of their citizens. I well recall the angry reaction of some US Senator - a Democrat - to Hugo Chavez's insult to George Bush at the United Nations: "Dammit, he [Bush] is MY President! He [Chavez] had no right to say what he did!"

Those of us who despise Bush as a war criminal see no decent reason for defending him or any other war criminal against insult, by anybody in any context. Some US patriots disagree; they equate the President with the nation's people.

So. Is "my country, right or wrong" (or, "my religion, right or wrong", etc) a fair position for a righteous person to hold, or is it not?

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